On March 10, the Edina Hornets celebrated a 4-2 victory over the Hill-Murray Pioneers for the school’s eighth Minnesota high school hockey championship. However, one piece of the team was missing.
More than 1,600 miles away in British Columbia, Louie Nanne watched his former teammates including younger brother, Tyler, celebrate the Hornets win from his computer.
Nanne won a championship with Edina as a freshman in 2010 and would’ve been a senior on this year’s team except for one small detail — He left Edina, skipping his senior year, to move to Canada and play for Penticton in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL).
“The decision [to leave] came to a forefront after the draft,” Nanne said. “It really just hit a headwind when I realized I had to get away from Minnesota and away from the Nanne name and make a name for myself.”
Nanne of course shares the same name as his grandfather, Lou Nanne, a Minnesota hockey legend who played for and coached the North Stars before becoming general manager. Louie’s father, Marty, is an amateur scout with the Wild organization.
One can imagination some of the reactions when the Wild selected the Edina junior in the seventh round (188th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
“Having the Nanne name especially being the next ‘Louie Nanne’ its both a blessing and a curse at the same time,” Nanne said. “It can be good when people know me because of my grandfather or father, but it can also be bad when people think I made said team, whichever one it is, because of my last name.
“It was fun to play in Minnesota, but it was something that got to a point where I had to do something on my own.”
Nanne sought advice from former Edina teammate and friend Steven Fogarty, who played for Penticton in 2011-12, as well as Minnesota head coach Don Lucia and his son, Mario, the Wild’s second-round pick in 2011.
Lucia was one of eight Minnesotans who played for Penticton during the 2011-12 season.
“I played on a team growing up with Steven Fogarty and he made the decision easier on me by saying how much he loved it out there,” Nanne said.
The move to British Columbia offered Nanne a chance to play much more than the regular high school season. The Junior A regular season is 56 games as opposed to roughly 24 in high school.
Nanne wanted the chance to work on his offensive game, bulk up and improve his speed. In 45 regular season games played, Nanne averaged almost a point-per-game with the Vees with 41 points (19-22-41).
That included a stunning four-goal explosion on the Feb. 9 game against Alberni Valley.
He also gained valuable big-game experience at the Junior level. In 15 playoff games Nanne added an additional 12 points (6-6=12) as Penticton fell to Surrey in double-overtime of the Fred Page Cup Finals.
“I got some confidence back [with Penticton]” Nanne said when asked how he benefitted from the move. “One of the reasons I found myself at Penticton was because I found myself lacking a bit at offense at Edina.
“When I went up there I was able to be myself and trust myself more than I had in Edina.”
With his season over, Nanne now finds himself back in Edina for the summer with a bigger challenge: Rehab.
During the regular season, Nanne missed 11 games with shoulder related injuries and chose to have labrum surgery on his right shoulder in mid-May. He will then have the same surgery on his left shoulder in July. The surgery should help Nanne stay on the ice; he said that his shoulders kept popping out of place during his time in British Columbia.
Rehab will be a long and steady process for Nanne and due to this he is going back to Penticton for another year instead of suiting up for Coach Lucia and the Gophers this fall.
“Rehab is pretty lengthy, I have to be patient and do everything the doctors say,” Nanne said. “I won’t be ready to play until Christmas time, I’d be better off doing another year in Juniors rather than red-shirting.”
Once he is cleared to play again for the Vees, Nanne will pick up where he left off as a key component to the team and will continue to develop as he prepares skate in his freshman season with the Gophers in 2014.
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